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Archive for February, 2014

KANO – Naoki Sato

February 28, 2014 Leave a comment

kanoOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Kano is a Taiwanese sports drama movie, about the Kano baseball team from southern Taiwan, which comprised of Japanese, Taiwanese and aboriginal players, and overcame extreme odds to represent the island in the 1931 Japanese High School Baseball Championship, at a time when Taiwan was still under Japanese rule. It’s an important and famous story in Taiwanese sporting culture – a classic example of an overachieving underdog – with a similar sense of ‘triumph over adversity’ to American films like Rudy, The Natural or Miracle. The film is directed by Umin Boya, and has a score by the popular and acclaimed Japanese composer Naoki Sato. Read more…

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HER – William Butler and Owen Pallett

February 26, 2014 4 comments

herpromoOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s difficult to describe Her without it sounding stupid because, basically, it’s about a man who falls in love with his computer – but it’s actually about much more than that. It’s about how loneliness can drive people to great lengths in order to find companionship. It’s about how technology is changing the way humans connect with each other. It’s about many things – but, ultimately, it’s about love. Set in Los Angeles in the near future, it stars Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore, who is in a deep depression after the ending of a long relationship, but who displays a sensitive side in his job, writing emotional personal letters for other people. When a new computer operating system comes onto the market, Theodore is intrigued – it advertises itself as an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user, capable of learning. Upon initiating it, he meets Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), an upbeat and curiously sexy female voice, who immediately begins organizing his life for the better. Quickly, Samantha displays an insatiable desire for knowledge and to understand human emotion, and as Theodore starts to fulfill those needs, the unlikely pair begins to fall in love. Read more…

A PASSAGE TO INDIA – Maurice Jarre

February 24, 2014 3 comments

passagetoindiaMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

A Passage to India is a novel by English author E. M. Forster, which unfolds against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. David Lean became enamored after watching the stage presentation of the story and immediately sought and obtained the movie rights. He adapted the screenplay himself and secured a stellar cast, which included; Judy Davis (Adela), Alec Guiness (Godbole), James Fox (Fielding), Peggy Ashcroft (Mrs. Moore) and Victor Bannerjee (Dr. Aziz). The story revolves a fateful trip to the Marabar Caves where a recently engaged Adela finds herself captivated and aroused by the beauty and sensuality of Indian culture. One day on a day trek and while alone with Dr. Aziz in one of the caves, she experiences conflicting emotions towards Dr. Aziz, panics and flees. It is assumed that Dr. Aziz had attempted to assault her and he is brought up to trial for charges of rape. The trial serves as both a commentary and a volatile catalyst that unleashes the pent up racial tensions long simmering between the indigenous Indians and the British colonialists who rule India. When Adela finally relents and withdraws her charges, Aziz is set free, but friendships are ruptured and Aziz seems irreparably harmed. Years later Aziz and his dear friend James reconcile, which brings the sad tale to a pleasing closure. The film was both a critical and commercial success, earning eleven Academy Award nominations, which included a Best Score Oscar for Maurice Jarre. Read more…

Best of 2013 in Film Music – South America

February 21, 2014 1 comment

metegolMETEGOL – Emilio Kauderer
Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Metegol – also known variously as Foosball, or Futbolín – is a 3D computer-animated comedy adventure film from Argentina directed by Juan J. Campanella. The film is inspired by the short story “Memorias de Un Wing Derecho” by Roberto Fontanarrosa, and tells the story of Amadeo, a shy but talented table football player who must re-connect with his former teammates and once again challenge his bitter rival, Grosso, for the foosball championship of Argentina. The film was an enormous hit in its native country upon its release in July 2013, and has a surprisingly rich and powerful score by Argentine composer Emilio Kauderer. With the might of the London Symphony Orchestra at his disposal, Kauderer impresses greatly with some big, powerful sports-fuelled action and drama, with all the heroism that implies. Read more…

IFMCA Award Winners 2013

February 20, 2014 Leave a comment

abelkorzeniowski-ifmca2INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES WINNERS; COMPOSERS FROM POLAND, SPAIN, DOMINATE

The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of winners for excellence in musical scoring in 2013. This year’s awards have a real international flavor, with the top awards going to composers primarily from Poland and Spain, but also from France, Japan and Argentina.

The award for Score of the Year goes to Polish composer ABEL KORZENIOWSKI for his beautiful score for director Carlo Carlei’s new cinematic version of the classic Shakespeare story of tragically doomed love, ROMEO AND JULIET. IFMCA member Christian Clemmensen called the score an “epic romance”, and felt that the film “inspired greatness out of the right composer”, while IFMCA member Jon Broxton said that Korzeniowski “is a composer who is not afraid to bring out the deeper sentiments in a film through his music, and it’s so refreshing to hear music from a man who so clearly understands what good film music can achieve”. Read more…

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SUNFLOWER – Henry Mancini

February 19, 2014 1 comment

sunflowerMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Renowned producer Carlo Ponti and acclaimed actor-director Vittorio de Sica hired screenwriter Cesare Zavattini to create, in the finest traditions of Italian cinema, a tragic love story. For this grand effort they recruited the two iconic Italian actors of the day to play the principles; Sophia Loren (Giovanna) and Marcello Mastroianni (Antonio). After many incarnations and disputes between Ponti and De Sica, a final screenplay was finally achieved. It reveals the story of two lovers caught up and swept away by the unforeseeable and irresistible currents of history. Sunflower, known in its original Italian as I Girasoli, is set in a small town in the southern Calabria region of Italy in the waning months of World War II. Read more…

ROBOCOP – Pedro Bromfman

February 17, 2014 Leave a comment

robocop2014Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One thing I really love to see is when a young, new composer gets his first chance at the big time, scoring a major movie with huge box-office potential. Brazilian composer Pedro Bromfman is the composer getting that chance in the early months of 2014, having been hired to score the big-budget reboot of one of the great classic 1980s action movies, Robocop. 38-year old Bromfman is best known internationally for his scores for the popular Brazilian action movies in the Tropa de Elite series, which were directed by his old friend José Padilha; when Padilha was hired to helm the new Robocop, he brought Bromfman with him, and – shockingly – the executives at Sony Pictures gave the green light to allow this absolutely unknown composer to score their $130 million investment. This is the stuff that dreams are made of, where careers are launched and great new talents emerge – except, that in this case, the dream turns into a nightmare once you actually hear the music. Read more…

BAFTA Winners 2013

February 16, 2014 Leave a comment

price-baftaThe British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) have announced the winners of the 67th British Academy Film Awards, honoring the best in film in 2013.

In the Best Original Score category composer Steven Price won the award for his score for the acclaimed sci-fi action movie Gravity. In his acceptance speech, Price said:

“Thank you, thank you so much BAFTA. My daughters once told me if I was incredibly nervous and terrified at any point I should say their names, so I’m going to do that first. Thank you Amy, thank you Eva. I share this with Alfonso [Cuaron], you inspired every second of this, and its been a huge honor to tell this story with you. I want to thank all of the musicians who played on this score and gave the music it’s heartbeat. Everyone at Warner Brothers, everyone at GSA, all the people on this film who’ve been so supportive. Thank you to my mum and dad for having such a great record collection when I was a kid and starting this whole thing off. But most of all thank you Gemma, my wife.”

The other nominees were Henry Jackman for Captain Phillips, Thomas Newman for Saving Mr. Banks, John Williams for The Book Thief, and Hans Zimmer for 12 Years a Slave.

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VENGEFUL HEART (QUA TIM MÁU) – Christopher Wong and Garrett Crosby

February 14, 2014 Leave a comment

vengefulheartOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Vengeful Heart is a Vietnamese supernatural thriller directed by Victor Vu, starring Phuong Nha, Hoang Bach, and Thai Hoa, one of Vietnam’s most popular and successful comedians. It tells the story of Linh, a young woman who, after almost being killed in a car accident, survives after receiving a heart transplant. During her recovery Linh begins to have nightmares and hallucinations about a mysterious house in a forest. Tortured by her dreams, Linh eventually finds the house, which she finds inhabited by a very unusual Addams-esque family; worse still, it starts to become apparent that the recently deceased daughter of the family is Linh’s heart donor, and the family is becoming more and more attached to Linh. The film was massively successful in its home country, taking in more than 90 billion đồng, making it the all-time highest grossing domestic film in Vietnamese box office history. Read more…

THE MONUMENTS MEN – Alexandre Desplat

February 14, 2014 2 comments

monumentsmenOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Monuments Men is a World War II action-drama-comedy, directed by George Clooney, based on the real-life escapades of a group of art history scholars who were assigned to find and protect the priceless artworks of central Europe, and stop it from falling into the hands of the Nazis. With an all-star supporting cast that includes Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban and Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville, the film certainly has pedigree, but many people have complained about the unusual tone the film adopts, veering from comedy to serious drama and back again, often within the same scene. The deliberate pacing and intentionally old-fashioned style of the film has also been criticized for being out of touch with modern audiences, but these were some of the reasons I felt the film succeeded: the film is less about moving from one action sequence to another and is more about the camaraderie between the men at the center of the story, and about the importance of the art they are tasked with protecting. Read more…

STAR TREK: NEMESIS – Jerry Goldsmith

February 13, 2014 3 comments

startreknemesisexpandedMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Sadly, the beloved Star Trek franchise took its final voyage with this tenth installment. For the storyline we are presented with yet another morality play, which explores the interplay of upbringing, fate and self-realization in seeking one’s destiny. Following a wedding between Will Riker and Deanna Troi, Picard receives startling orders from Star Fleet Command to proceed to Romulus as the Federation’s peace emissary. Evidently a coup d’état had ushered in a new leadership that wished to reset relations after centuries of unremitting animosity. Upon their arrival Picard discovers that the new leader Shinzon is not a Romulan, but instead a human, a clone of himself. Eventually he realizes a sinister deception as Shinzon’s true motives manifest. Shinzon desires to gain glory first by killing his genetic progenitor, Picard, and then by destroying Earth, a final repudiation of his humanity. Thus from a shared genetic template we see a duality, the polarity of goodness embodied in Picard and the polarity evil with Shinzon. What unfolds is a classic battle between light and darkness, a contest of wills with both Picard and Shinzon using their knowledge of the other and themselves to prevail. In the fateful final encounter, the Enterprise joined by Romulan loyalist ships battle Shinzon’s Scimitar, a cloaked mega vessel with superior shields and weapons of mass destruction. We witness Picard and Shnizon match wits with the most impressive battle scenes of the franchise. The film, while not embraced by critics, performed well and was profitable. The decision to end the franchise was very disappointing. Read more…

Best of 2013 in Film Music – Spain

February 9, 2014 6 comments

eltiempoentrecosturasEL TIEMPO ENTRE COSTURAS – César Benito
Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

El Tiempo Entre Costuras, “The Time Between Seams”, is an epic Spanish TV series based on the novel by María Dueñas. Broadcast on the Antena 3 network in October 2013, it stars Adriana Ugarte as Sira Quiroga, a seamstress in Madrid in the 1930s, who is forced to flee her home when the Spanish Civil War breaks out. The score for El Tiempo Entre Costuras is by Los Angeles-based Andalusian composer César Benito, and it’s absolutely sensational. There’s something captivating, emotional, entrancing about César Benito’s work here. Epic, yet intimate, sweeping, yet personal, it’s one of the best scores for television you are ever likely to here. Beginning with the rhapsodic “Tema de Sira”, written for solo piano, the score opens up into the sparkling, busy “Madrid, 1922”, which captures the life and energy of pre-war Madrid through central theme which effortlessly moves around all sections of the orchestra, and features an especially gorgeous sequence for various solo woodwinds. Read more…

IFMCA Award Nominations 2013

February 6, 2014 Leave a comment

ifmcasquareINTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS AWARD NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED; POLISH COMPOSER ABEL KORZENIOWSKI LEADS FIELD

The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of nominees for excellence in musical scoring in 2013. In this 10th Anniversary year of the IFMCA’s creation, the most nominated composer is Abel Korzeniowski, who received six nominations: Score of the Year, Best Drama Score and Film Music Composition of the Year for his work on director Carlo Carlei’s new screen version of the classic Shakespeare romance “Romeo and Juliet”; Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror Score and Film Music Composition of the Year for his work on director Randy Moore’s unusual satirical fantasy-horror set in a nightmarish Disney theme park, “Escape From Tomorrow”; and a personal nomination as Composer of the Year. Kraków, Poland-born Korzeniowski has previously been nominated for three IFMCA Awards, winning the award for Best Drama Score for “A Single Man” in 2009. Read more…

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Best of 2013 in Film Music – Poland and Eastern Europe

February 2, 2014 1 comment

ambassadaAMBASSADA – Bartosz Chajdecki
Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Ambassada is a Polish science fiction comedy film written and directed by Juliusz Machulski, about a young couple who move into a new apartment building, only to find that the building’s elevator is actually a time machine; using the machine, the couple find themselves going back in time to the 1940s and coming face-to-face with none other than Adolf Hitler! Yes, it is a comedy – it stars Magdalena Grąziowska, Bartosz Porczyk and Robert Więckiewicz, and has a score by one of the young rising stars of Polish film music, Bartosz Chajdecki.

The score is an interesting mix of contemporary jazz and large-scale science fiction action, which sounds like it shouldn’t work at all, but actually does. The opening cue, “Kosmopolityczny-Wood” introduces the Cosmopolitan theme, a fun piece of jazz, with a bouncy trumpet line offset by an accordion, piano and stand-up bass, which introduces the main characters and their deft comedic natures. “Żydowski Szybki” brings a hint of Jewish-Polish folk music into the score with a whirligig dance for harpsichord and strings, while “Woln Spokój”, “Holly” and the flamboyant finale “Nalewki Zmontowane“ return later in the score to revisit the jazz flavors of the opening cue. Read more…